Round Trip Distance: 7.1 miles
Elevation: 4671 - 5572 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs. 45 mins.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Little Park Road
Attractions: wildlife, wildflowers
View Gunny Loop2 in a larger map
The Gunny Loop trail begins at the Little Park Road trailhead. The trail travels downhill, skirting canyons and ridges, for just under 5 miles before it crosses Little Park Road and heads west to its junction with the Tabeguache trail. A loop can be completed by following the Tabeguache trail back uphill to the beginning. The upper trail is popular with both hikers and mountain bikers. This post details beginning at the Little Park Road trailhead and ending at the Tabeguache trailhead by making use of a shuttle vehicle. To get an idea of incorporating the Tabeguache trail to form a complete loop check out this previous post.
A lot of changes have taken place for the Gunny Loop trail in the past year. The BLM rebuilt the parking area and added a nice new vault toilet. The trail itself has undergone some rerouting which has greatly improved it especially for mountain bikers.
The main trail departs from the trailhead following a gravel road that is now closed to motorized travel. Follow the left fork in the road a short distance from the trailhead.
The trail goes up and over a small hill and joins the main Gunny Loop trail. Follow the main trail to the left and you will be well on your way.
Just over 1 mile from the trail, at the top of an old 4-wheel drive road is a trail marker which directs you straight ahead to remain on the Gunny Loop trail. This is a new section of trail that replaces the route following the road. You can still see people using both routes though.
This midge-faded rattlesnake was catching some rays within about 2 feet of the trail. It has a den right next to the new trail. These snakes are extremely poisonous but the are generally just as shy and are quick to crawl away. We had seen the snake in this spot on a previous pass when it crawled back under its rock and rattled away. On this trip we crept up on it so we could get some nice closeup pictures. These guys usually sense your vibrations and find cover before you get close enough for a picture. If they have a clutch of eggs nearby they may coil up and veg out without rattling at all. I have come within inches of stepping on one behind Mt. Garfield.
Just over 2 miles the trail routes around the base of a prominent hill.
There is a new trail marker on the that doesn't have any markings on it yet that indicates another trail that runs back over to Little Park Road. This route creates a nice short loop and is already getting quite a bit of use.
Once you get around to the north side of the hill the trail begins several steep descents and the gives up over 360 feet of elevation over the next mile.
After rounding another hill the trail descends once again into a valley as it begins heading back towards Little Park road.
The trail drops far enough into the valley that you have to climb back up a hundred feet or so.
The trail crosses Little Park Road just under the 5 mile point. Some mountain bikers choose to follow the road back up to their vehicle rather than going on over to the Tabeguache trail.
After crossing Little Park Road the trail drops down into another valley in the vicinity of the Clunker and Holy Bucket trails. After crossing the valley the trail turns up the canyon following the base of the hill below Miramonte Rim.
The Gunny Loop trail meets up with the Holy Cross trail and it is in this vicinity that the Gunny Loop trail ends and you begin to make use of other trails to either get back to where you began or to get down to the Tabeguache trailhead.
Following the Ali-Ali Connector to Curt's Lane you can follow that down to the trailhead or turn left and take the shorter route down Bentonite Hill. Bentonite Hill is fairly steep but it cuts off quite a bit of distance.
At the base of Bentonite Hill the trail meets up with the lower part of the Tabeguache trail and passes through the badlands to the trailhead.
The Gunny Loop is a good trail close to town where you can get away from some of the larger crowds. Most of the hikers on the Gunny Loop stay mostly around the upper section of the trail and its many off chutes. There are some fun places to explore in the lower areas of the trail and near the Gunnison River. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.